Agriculture first priority in budget: Finance Minister

Published On: March 21, 2022 02:07 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

RUKUM, March 21: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has said that the budget for the coming fiscal year- FY 2022/23 will be prepared by giving priority to the agriculture sector.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) branch office, Rukum, at the Rukum headquarters on Monday morning, Minister Sharma said that the Ministry of Finance has started focusing on budget formulation for the next fiscal year.

"We have started discussions to make the agriculture sector a top priority in the forthcoming budget," he said, adding that the agriculture sector is expected to help in import substitution and increase exports. He said that the target is to increase the share of exports by 10 percent every year.

He said that the budget would also focus on developing infrastructure to reduce the distance of rural areas from major cities. "We plan to reduce the distance from one city to another. For example, we are planning to maintain a road distance of 2 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara. We are making similar plans elsewhere," he said. "We are paying special attention to improving the rural economy. It will ensure that the products of rural areas get easy market access.”

He said that the people-based development model would also be implemented through the budget. "We will move ahead with the infrastructure construction plan so that the people can feel the development," he said. “The quality of the construction work will be equally taken into consideration.”

He said that the increase in the price chain of petroleum products, gold-silver, edible oil, plastic, rod, commodities, charge for freight used in transportation and container freight in the international market is putting pressure on the price rise in Nepal as well. However, he said there was no need to panic as the annual target set for inflation was within the projected range.

He assured that the economy would gradually recover as the balance of payments deficit was gradually improving and the liquidity crunch was likely to be resolved within a few days. Stating that up to Rs 500 million Nepali currency is being exported daily due to illegal digital transactions, he said that all mechanisms have been mobilized to stop such activities.


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